Six years ago, when I started Solo Traveler, we got it – all of us who traveled solo got why – but most people didn’t.
It was the reason I wrote “Glad You’re Not Here: The Solo Traveler’s Manifesto – because most people didn’t get it.
Yes. I’m still asked the same question in interviews. Why travel solo?
And, as you might expect after six years, I have a few new perspectives on the subject. So here are my current thoughts on the why of traveling solo.
Why Travel Solo: The Heart of the Matter
Wonderful revelations can come from simple things. I was riding the somewhat complicated London tube once and suddenly realized that I had navigated the whole process myself with little difficulty and no anxiety. At that moment my confidence jumped a notch.
Gather up all such incidents, large and small, and you’ll know why solo travel is so great.
It’s not just about the trip. It’s also about you.
To me, the big reason for traveling solo is all the wonderful small revelations that are made possible because I’m traveling alone – and how they affect my confidence, my self-image and my life.
Let’s dig a little deeper…
Why Travel Solo: Enumerating the Reasons
There are, of course, many reason to travel solo beyond the revelations. Here are a few more. Travel solo and…
- Carry only your own baggage. I mean carry only your own personal baggage. I’m not talking of what you pack for your trip. Traveling alone means that you are free of a companion’s anxieties.
- Be uncomfortable and then get comfortable again. Stretching boundaries expands your comfort zone. It may be difficult at the beginning but by hanging in your personal world will grow.
- Only do what really interests you. Do what you want when you want. Enjoy that luxury. And as you do, get to know yourself better.
- Discover who you are when no one’s looking. Without the presence of family and friends who expect you to act in a certain way, you can be yourself more than at any other time. Read: The Power of Solitude: Emily Dickinson Meets Reese Witherspoon
- Relax, you’re on no one’s schedule but your own. Get the rest you so greatly need or break loose from a meandering home life restricted by responsibilities.
- Reflect. Solo travel is an opportunity to let your mind wander and watch where it goes. You’ll learn a lot about yourself doing so.
- Build self-confidence. The more you travel alone the more capable you will discover yourself to be.
- Roll with the situation however you want to roll it. When things go wrong, which they sometimes will, respond with all the confidence you’ve gained on your solo trips.
- Develop a positive outlook. Positive thinking and solo travel go together.
- Enjoy the freedom. When asked what solo travel means to them, the members of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook used the word “freedom” more than any other.
- Grow. Return to your family and friends an enriched person.
And remember, just because you’re traveling solo for yourself doesn’t mean you’re being selfish. Read No Guilt Solo Travel: 6 Thoughts on Making Yourself a Priority.
You’ve Heard the Why of Solo Travel. Now a Bit About the How.
Here are a few posts on the how of solo travel. Also, don’t forget that if you want it all in one place, laid out in a logical fashion, you might want to pick up The Solo Traveler’s Handbook. It’s available on all online stores. Now the posts.
- 5 Steps to a Great Solo Travel Future
- Airport Security: Sail Through the Screening Process
- Manage Money. Avoid Fees. Keep Cards and Cash Safe.
- When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed: 43 Tips for Traveling Alone
- Travel Deeper: How to Connect with Locals
- Solo Travel: 42 Things I Now Know
- What to Do at Night When Traveling Alone – 7 Tips